The council was a formal event, so of course William had to get dressed up. His robes were good enough for that, and of course they had significant defensive enchantments. Chris got a new case, and while William had to admit it was impressive, he wished he could just bring Chris as he was. Of course, the people who were most likely to recognize Chris were the lords, and that would bring about many unpleasant things. William had considered impersonating the Demon King, but that would have many problems as well… such as the fact that he only had a small part of the necessary memories, and the only contacts he’d had with Chris resulted in his immediate death. Of course, many fewer people would know about the second time, but the point remained.
Lorelei had more accessories to accompany her robe. She didn’t wear jewelry much, but she was now adorned with necklaces, rings, bracelets, and even earrings. Or course, they were all magical in some way. They didn’t necessarily look magical, because they were all inactive, but William knew all of them had a purpose. Hopefully, they wouldn’t be needed.
Lila wouldn’t be going. William needed to create a name for himself, but Lila did not. They decided to keep her somewhat low-key until they needed her help. Those who had paid close attention to the situation with the Van Canns would know of her, but would probably underestimate her actual power. That would potentially be useful later.
William found he was nervous about the situation he was going into. He had dealt with nobles before, but they generally had very little personal power. He’d kicked an Archmage out a window, but he’d only had the title and not any of the abilities. Cecil Lockridge’s wizards also hadn’t been able to cast quickly, fight in melee combat, or run after him. Thus, it hadn’t actually been as dangerous as it seemed, though it was still stupid. Now he was going into a meeting of gevai… probably many of which belonged under the name demon. He was also going to cause trouble and not immediately flee the scene, which could end up with him facing off against many people if things went wrong.
William recalled how he died for the first time in this world. It was against a demon lord. Everyone had been dying… and he’d even watched Lila fall in that battle. Actually, he’d died afterwards when he was assassinated. William had also fought against the Demon King, but he won that battle. Not alone, of course, and not easily… but the point remained. William actually wondered what he was afraid of. He was much stronger now. He would be fine. He just had to make sure to keep some level of caution.
Though the council wasn’t public knowledge, it wasn’t clandestine either. The meeting would take place in a chateau of one of the nearby lords… though it was still a day of travel away from Ducson. William was glad for the carriage he was riding in. It wouldn’t do to show up dirty or possibly even sweaty. The guard at the gate only briefly looked over their invitation before they were let in. Of course, they weren’t actually invited, but Abiel Thorsten had provided his for reference. The guard couldn’t have denied the Archmage entry anyway, but it was best to avoid making problems… before intended.
William had to admire how practical Lorelei was with her spending. She had money, but she didn’t spend it on large pieces of art, or statues of herself. Not that William thought art had no value, but he thought it should not cost as much as a small village. Some of the pieces here probably had.
Along the way, they saw many guards in different livery. As they neared the top of the steps leading into the estate, one of them stepped out in front of William and Lorelei. What could be seen under his helmet of his ugly face turned even uglier as he scowled, “Hey, what is she doing here? I didn’t hear anything about a woman being invited.”
There was a brief pause, followed by a *thunk* and several crashing sounds. William avoided rubbing the back of his hand. Doing a backhanded punch on a steel helmet was still somewhat painful. Of course, the guard got the worse end of the deal. Sadly, he was a gevai, so he was probably tough enough to survive, but he would at the very least have a concussion. Without saying anything, William and Lorelei continued to walk forward. A groan told William the guard was still alive, and he wondered if he should have done something more, but decided against it. It probably wasn’t the same guard that injured his father, even if he wore the Harridan livery. Even so, he couldn’t let him talk to Lorelei like that… or himself, for that matter.
None of the other guards voiced any objections, though William saw a few of them stiffen as he went past. The actual guard who worked for the lord of the chateau they were at bowed slightly as they passed.
Inside was a butler of some sort. When his eyes fell on Lorelei he briefly looked surprised, before gesturing down a hallway. “The meeting chamber is the third door on the left, madam and sir. Almost everyone else has already arrived.”
When they arrived in the room, they were met with a number of different responses. Abiel Thorsten just nodded in acknowledgment. Some looked surprised, some grimaced, and one or two seemed unfazed. Of course, they all attempted to be subtle, but William had practiced reading people on his own and with Lorelei… and Lorelei was terrifyingly proficient at reading people.
They had only taken a few moments to get settled into the room when Lorcan Harridan came stomping into the room. William hadn’t seen him in person before, as he was occupied when his carriage was going past, but he’d seen a portrait. They were accurate, or at least the ones Lorelei had shown him. He was positively fuming, “Who injured my guards?” His eyes looked around the room before locking on William. “You!” Then his eyes flicked to Lorelei. “Wait, what are you doing here? You weren’t invited.”
Lorelei smiled coldly, “You knew? And here I thought everyone had merely forgotten.” She didn’t sound even slightly surprised, and William felt uncomfortable just standing next to her. He could only imagine what Lorcan felt with that look directed at him.